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DOT’s New Rules for Shipping Class 3 Liquids by Rail

Posted on 5/6/2015 by Roger Marks

Last week, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) announced a Final Rule to improve the safety of flammable liquids shipped by rail. The new rule comes in response to a rash of high-profile train de-railings involving large shipments of crude oil and other products across the US and Canada.

US DOT joined forces with Transport Canada to create new standards they hope will improve safety, prevent and mitigate accidents, and support emergency response.

The new standards in the rule are based in part on two brand new definitions:

Rail Car Ground Shipping

High Hazard Flammable Train (HHFT) – a train comprised of 20 or more loaded tank cars of a Class 3 flammable liquid in a continuous block OR 36 or more loaded tank cars of a Class 3 flammable liquid across the entire train.

High Hazard Flammable Unit Train (HHFUT) – a train comprised of 70 or more loaded tank cars containing Class 3 flammable liquids traveling at speeds greater than 30 miles-per-hour.

Among the new rules in Friday’s crude oil rulemaking are:
  • New sampling and testing requirements for classifying crude oil and other energy products.
  • Bolstered standards for HHFT tank cars constructed after 10/01/15;
  • An ambitious schedule of retrofitting older tank cars that carry crude oil and/or ethanol;
  • New braking standards for HHFTs, designed to reduce the “pile-up effect”;
  • Routing requirements based on a minimum 27-point safety assessment;
  • Speed restrictions for HHFTs; and
  • Administrative standards for railroads operating HHFTs.
Compliance with this new Final Rule is mandatory 60 days after the rule is published in the Federal Register. View the Final Rule.

Expert 49 CFR Hazmat Shipper Training

Get up to speed with the latest hazmat shipping regulations for ground, air, and ocean with interactive hazmat workshops, online courses, and webinars at Lion.com. For hazmat shipping managers and personnel, staying up-to-date with rule changes is critical; missing a single mandate can lead to rejected shipments, incidents in transit, and DOT fines up to $75,000 per day/violation. Per 49 CFR 172.704, hazmat employee training is required within 90 days for new employees, and at least once every three years thereafter.

Tags: DOT, flammables, hazmat shipping, new rules

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